Mating Sulphur Butterflies

Mating Colias Butterflies and a not-so-Common Wood Nymph
Hi Bugman,
Thanks for your great site! You’ve helped me identify lots of critters through your pictures and links from my yard here in Western PA, east of Pittsburgh. I sent you two pictures of mating Colias Butterflies and one picture of a very elusive guest that had me stumped both by its appearance and behavior. The Common Wood Nymph would not let me get near enough to take a good picture. As I approached it would flit away and hide on the underside of a downspout out of range. As I moved away, it would return to the flowers. It did this five or six times, finally flitting to a large white pine and hiding itself thoroughly on the underside of a branch. I could see the eye spots, but there was no way that I had the equipment to take the photo. If I left and took my eyes off the thing, I’d never find it again. I have lived in this area most of my life and have never seen this distinctive butterfly. How common are they really? Or are they just “common” elsewhere than here? Thanks for all your help!

We believe your mating Sulphur Butterflies are Clouded Sulphurs, Colias philodice, but it is possible they are another species in the genus. Wood Nymphs, like many butterflies, may be very numerous in one area, and a mile away they may never be seen. Insects often have very localized populations.

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